We are the Sustainable Development charity for Wales. We exist principally to support our members who can be charities, local government, businesses – any type of organisation. When we work with businesses, we help them carry out their activities in alignment with the Well-being of Future Generations Act. We provide training and course development for community and voluntary organisations and as part of the group structure of WCVA, we are able to collaborate with organisations like Environet to do this. We act as a networking hub and link businesses to community/voluntary/public organisations to achieve low carbon, resource efficient outcomes. As the accrediting body for the Living Wage, we support employers to ensure that people on the lowest incomes are paid properly. Through training and consultancy, we facilitate businesses to be more supportive of the communities in which they work, and we link people together on specific projects and ideas to produce outcomes that benefit communities. The remit of Renew is clearly complementary to our work and we believe that by working together we can be more effective.
Why are you drawn to this area of work?
I have been working with communities since 2005 when I was the south west Wales co-ordinator of the Pride In Our Communities project for Environment Agency Wales. In that role I collaborated with Keep Wales Tidy, local voluntary groups, and local authorities to enable citizens to take ownership of the quality of their local environment and improve it. I learned from those experiences that as long as people have an initial focus, they can build collaborative action to produce a multitude of outcomes. More recently I have been working with community and town councils, and most recently I have been working with Dwr Cymru as they seek a new relationship with communities, vulnerable customers and business partners. I have set up community environmental groups and volunteered on existing ones in the communities where I have lived. I do not want to live in a world in which power is vested in the hands of the few, and in any case, the environmental crisis we face demands practical responses at the hyper-local level as well as global leadership.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
We must build a country in which energy supply and food supply include local, renewable resources and don’t rely solely on large scale global networks. Active citizens need a Living Wage and to feel secure: core services can be supplied locally by communally owned enterprises which re-invest surplus into the economy. Education supports people to build their lives in the districts where they grew up. New generations put their energy and skills into the communities which nurtured them. We will live in a country of networks and webs of learning, collaboration, and co-operative enterprise.